12/09/07 — Children, adults enjoy 'Jingle in the Park'

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Children, adults enjoy 'Jingle in the Park'

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 9, 2007 2:00 AM

Rudolph was there, but Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at Herman Park not behind eight tiny reindeer, but in Goldsboro Fire Department's Engine No. 5 Saturday night.

Receiving their special escort from the North Pole (so as not to confuse any children happening to look skyward as to what day it was) the pair still managed to raise quite a clatter as the heads of dozens of children immediately jerked around at the sound of Santa's "Ho Ho Hos" coming from the truck's loudspeakers.

And, as they cheered him into the park, they ran to be the first in line to sit on his lap and put their requests in with the big man himself.

For many of them, despite sleigh rides, train rides, the candy cane hunt and the chance to make crafts with Rudolph, it was the highlight of the evening.

When asked what she wanted for Christmas, 5-year-old Mikayla at first said she didn't know, then she said she wanted "lots of stuff," but when pressed a little bit, she admitted that she really was just hoping to get a bicycle and a keyboard.

On top of 4-year old Grace Jones' list were a puppy and an MP3 player. But, as her mother fixed her newly grown reindeer antlers on her head, her most pressing concern was telling Rudolph bye before going to hear the Carver Heights Elementary School Choir.

With an estimated 200 people and unseasonably balmy weather, it was a good evening to come out and get into the Christmas spirit -- from the hot apple cider, to the carols being sung and played by local musicians, to the lights strung through the trees by the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department.

Richard and Gail Askins said they just decided to walk over from their Beech Street home, decked out in their holiday red -- their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Andy, in his Santa suit -- and have a little seasonal fun.

"This is wonderful. We just love it. It's fun for everybody," Mrs. Askins said.

But perhaps Matthew Harper, 6, summed it up best.

"This place is crackilackin," he said, laughing, before running off to ask Santa for a remote control airplane.